Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fun in Ava

Over Memorial Day weekend, Kelly and I drove to Ava, Missouri, to visit my brother Ray and his wife Janet. They only moved there in October after Jan retired, but they had bought the house (read “wreck”) some time before and spent some major time and effort rebuilding/renovating it. Even if I hadn’t seen “before” photos I would think the “after”/finished product is stunning! See?

They have a double lot with several nice big trees - elms, redbuds, maples, etc. There's a great deck on the side right off the dining room.

If you think that’s nice, you should see the inside…Brazilian cherry floors (gorgeous!), beautiful cabinetry, a great layout, and excellent craftsmanship throughout. Such a nice home!

On Friday afternoon while Ray went to pick up Kathie at the Springfield airport, Janet showed us around Ava. Well, we did other stuff too since the Ava tour only takes about ten minutes. The town is small (we think about 3200 residents) but packed with lots of stuff. It’s the county seat, surrounded by cattle farming, and has a quaint town square, affordable housing, low humidity (ahhhh!), a nice grocery store with low prices and great produce, a good variety of churches, a few restaurants and bars, and a park with swimming pool, tennis courts, and a walking path - just down the street from Jan and Ray’s. I was favorably impressed.

So Kelly and I were hanging out with Jan and Sam the Dog when Ray and Kathie walked in the door from the airport, Ray shaking his head. Kathie had just realized when they pulled up in the drive that she had left her checked bag back at the airport. Hadn’t even thought to go pick it up from baggage claim! We teased her mercilessly all weekend for that one.

After Ray and Kathie returned on Saturday morning from the airport (again), we all went over to Ava Drug for hot dogs, fresh squeezed lemonade, and five cent ice cream scoops. I’m not kidding – the ice cream was five cents a scoop! Needless to say, the place was hoppin’. Then we toured the square, checking out the shops. The one that caught my attention was Eliz Arts, owned by artist and art teacher Elizabeth Ann Jackson Brown. Hanging throughout the shop are large discs she makes of stained and not-so-stained glass. Very cool.

Unfortunately, the natural food store had just closed for the day, so we didn’t go in there, but we did see where the tornado of a few weeks earlier had damaged the front of the store. Yikes!

Here's Ray's new project. He's planning to paint this cute little VW black and white before he takes it up on Route 66 for his birthday this month. It's got a little kitchen and a bed in the back! My son-in-law has been eating his heart out over this photo.

Saturday evening we went to the Ava Family Theater (also on the square) to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was the only show and there were only two showings that evening, but really - who needs more than that? I was amazed that Indiana Jones was even showing, since it had only come out the day before. And my soda was one dollar. I haven’t seen a dollar soda at the movies since…well…a very long time ago.

I didn't get a good pic of Janet (except in her housecoat), so here's a shot of her "garden sculpture". Heh heh. That girl knows how to have some fun, I tell you!

On Sunday, Ray barbecued up some ribs, hamburgers, and dogs to go with the excellent salad their friends Pat and Lynn brought and the yummy lemon meringue pies their other friends and neighbors Sue and Jerry brought. The weather was perfect and we all had a great time. If only I was independently wealthy…I could get used to this kind of life.

Can you see Sam the Dog under Kelly's feet?

Sunday evening and Monday we feasted on leftovers (did I mention the breakfast casserole Pat brought over?). We did walk some, but I could have definitely used some pants with elastic waistbands! Everything was delicious.

Sadly, we took Kathie back to the airport on Monday evening and Kelly and I left Ray and Jan on Tuesday morning. The drive home was long and tiring, but I figure we’ll go back again in the not too distant future. Thanks, Ray and Jan, for a wonderful time!

1 comment:

Kappa no He said...

Now, that is my idea of a perfect vacation. The house is amazing! It made me tear up, just to have that space...that lush green lawn...trees...that deck...I won't even bring up those wood floors you mentioned. And of course the fantastic people!